After reading Nick Welsh’s very detailed and negative news story about Elings Park I feel compelled to write. I have lived in Bel Air Knolls for almost 10 years and I have found the park to be a wonderful neighbor.
In this time of severe economic turmoil it is important to point out that Elings Park is not a city park that requires funding from the budget to operate. Elings Park is a self-sustaining, not-for-profit organization that provides a venue for young kids to ride their BMX bicycles and for sports teams to play soccer, rugby, or baseball. It is a place where you can take your dogs and let them run off leash. Elings Park has a Veteran’s Memorial Walk that includes the name of every soldier from the county who has given their life in defense of this country.
What are the horrible things that Welsh mentions in his article? The park was trying to “negotiate a settlement with county planners.” That sounds sinister! The park wanted to host a bicycle race. Not roaring motorcycles but bicycles. And worse yet – the park allows people to get married there.
I will apologize for stooping to sarcasm in this letter but I am tired of people fighting against the good things in this town. It is time for people like me to stand up and tell the county planners that we support Elings Park. It is a wonderful thing to know there is a park in your neighborhood.–Erick McCurdy, S.B.
* * *
Elings Park, operated by a non-profit board of volunteers, is quite proud of all the activities, events, and services that take place in the Park for the benefit of our entire community. Elings Park receives no funds from state, county, or city governments for its maintenance, care, or operation. Elings Park, 230 acres of spectacular beauty with numerous active recreational facilities within its boundaries, is run with an efficient administrative staff of three and a remarkable grounds crew of THREE people.
While our operations may not be perfect, we continually strive to do better. Over the last two years, through on-going dialogue with our neighbors, city planners, and county staff, we’ve implemented a number of improvements and refinements to our current practices and policies while serving the greater Santa Barbara community’s needs for active and passive recreation and enjoyment.
Like most non-profits, it’s a challenge each year for Elings Park to achieve financial sustainability. Events and programs targeted to adults, such as weddings and Bike Fests, generate revenues that pay for children’s sports activities and programs as well as non-revenue generating activities such as hikers and walkers. Without one, we can not provide the other.
Without you, Elings Park doesn’t exist. So please, come visit your extraordinary park, Elings Park! Hike the trails, throw a Frisbee, bring your dog, play on a field, walk through the groves, and admire the sculptures. You make it happen.–Michael Fauver
Michael Fauver is president of the Elings Park Foundation